Purpose

I think one thing that a lot of people struggle with is finding a purpose in life. I know this is something that I used to wonder a lot myself. Why am I here? Why have I lived this long, with no end in sight? I obviously can’t speak for everybody, but I know that it does feel like we’ve all been put here for some reason.

So what is it that makes me think we’re here for some reason? That’s easy to answer, we’re the only planet with life, that we actually know of(I’m not here to discuss crazy theories about aliens or creators, save it for someone who cares). Sure, it could be a coincidence, or perfect situation that put us here, but it doesn’t feel that way to me. We’ve even found other planets that scientists think could support life, but no actual evidence of life on them. It’s hard for me not to think that we’re here for a reason if that’s the case.

So what are we here for? Do we each have our own individual purpose? If so, how do we find it? I think these are the real questions. It seems like some people are here to accomplish certain things, or to show us a certain way. I think the main thing I’ve gathered from watching these people is that we’re really here to live our lives the way we want. The people that seem to be fulfilling their purpose are doing what they love, more than anything else. Too often I think we try to live up to everybody else’s standards, rather than asking ourselves what we really want and going after it. The uncomfortable truth is that some day, we won’t be here any more. So why not do what you want until then? People often say they don’t want to look back on their life with regret, but I also know a lot of people who have settled for a life they didn’t want. I think that is the greatest tragedy any of us can experience.

So what’s the point of me writing this? To point out that I think we’re supposed to push each other to achieve what we really want, to love each other in the process, and to respect each other’s perspectives. After all, everybody has their own life experiences that we can’t really compare to. We all have our own individual thought process about how things should be done. It seems like everybody would rather judge each other on these things rather than try to understand and respect them. If you don’t want people disrespecting you, try not disrespecting others. That’s how I think we’ll all really get along with each other. And isn’t that the point any way?

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Luck

One thing I get asked a lot is if there is anything in particular that people say to me during training camp that is annoying. Most people have an idea of what it would be, thinking it would be something about my diet or being ready. If I’m being honest, it’s when people wish me “good luck”. I know that makes me sound like an asshole, but let me explain.

There are a couple of reasons that this irritates me. The first being that the person saying it might not believe I’m good enough to win. While I get in there and fight on my own, it’s still good to know that people have faith in you. Everybody wants that to some degree, but I think it’s hard to be able to relate things to what I do. The easiest way to do it is comparing it to your job. How would you feel if you were wished luck every time you went to work? Probably like the person saying it thinks you have no idea what you’re doing. While that might not be that big of a big deal every once in a while, it wears on you when you constantly hear it.

The thing is, if you think you need luck to get through something, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. When you undertake a new endeavor, you can’t hope things will work out well. You have to show up and put in the work required to get where you want to be. Fighting is no different. Success isn’t based of off luck, but ability. Even things people consider to be “lucky shots” aren’t that lucky. Chances are a guy has practiced a technique thousands of times before executing it in an arena of combat. But it’s easier for people to chalk it up to luck, rather than think about and acknowledge how hard somebody has had to work to get somewhere.

Now I will say this, I understand that most people don’t know what else to say. I know that a lot of people want to say something nice before I fight, and good luck is the most common thing to say to somebody who is about to attempt something big. I do still appreciate everybody who says it to me, as I know they just want to offer words of encouragement.

Just don’t be surprised when I tell you to save it for the other guy.

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Fear

If I had to point to one thing that I think holds people back in life, it would be fear. It happens to all of us to some degree. No matter what people say, we all feel it. I think there are a lot of types of fear that people don’t even realize are that at all, the main one being finding an excuse to not do something.

I’m not talking about legit ones, duh. But some people will think of any reason to not do something. Most of the time they’ll tell you about all the big things that they have coming up, but then they never materialize. When you bring it up to them, they always rely on excuses to explain why they haven’t progressed towards their goal. The most common one to me is, “I don’t have time.” I can’t stand it when people say this. If something is important to you, then you’ll make the time to get it done. That’s the main reason I think this is really a fearful explanation.

I have fears of my own. I’ve chosen a not so normal path in life, and that alone can be scary. I had the opportunity to have a “normal” lifestyle. Go to school, get a degree, get a job out of college, and just go through life day by day. That’s honestly never interested me though. I can understand why most people would choose that. My life isn’t exactly the most comfortable, but I also wouldn’t change it for anything at this point.

I also worry about living up to my own standard, especially when it comes to my job. Putting yourself out there for the world to see if you succeed or fail is hard to do. Just because you might not care about other peoples’ opinions at the end of the day doesn’t mean that hearing them all the time doesn’t have an effect on you. I have so many people offering to help me, or giving me advice, and it can be hard to filter it all out. You want to try and listen to it because you assume they’re saying it for the sake of helping you out. The funny thing is that normally I see it as them wanting to just talk, or get credit for “helping” you. When you’re first starting something, advice can definitely be helpful, but you should also get to a point when you can differentiate the helpful advice from the people who just want to flap their gums.

So, how do you overcome fear? I honestly can’t answer that for you. Nobody can tell you how to conquer your fears, only you can figure that out. For me it was understanding that it was about being satisfied with MY performance, not being worried about what people might say afterwards. While other people can have their input, I’m the one that has to live with myself at the end of the day, so what I think about how I did is what matters most. As far as pursuing what I want in life, that just comes from understanding how limited my time here really is. I’ve unfortunately had a lot of friends taken from me earlier than they should have, but it’s more of a bitter reminder that that will be me one day. ¬†I could go through life putting things off because I’m scared of failing, and then bitching about all the time, or I could step up and see what happens. The biggest thing is probably that I’ve personally faced things that I don’t think a lot of people could handle, and I didn’t have people I could talk to about it at the time so I had to deal with them by myself. When I looked back and realized these things, I really saw fear for what it was, a roadblock in life preventing people from doing what they want.

Roadblocks are meant to be run over. I’m gonna do what I want.

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Time

I would say a lot of people that I know ¬†consider money to be the ultimate commodity. Now, don’t get me wrong, money can definitely do a lot of things. It’s used to acquire all sorts of things from toilet paper to cures for diseases. One thing it can’t ever get for you though is the true ultimate commodity, time.

I think the main thing that got me thinking about this mostly has to do with charity. People always tell me that giving money is the most important part of charity. While it is obviously important, I have a hard time saying it’s most important. What would these charities do without people volunteering their time to work for them? I could ask the same question about donating to disease research, what good would the money be without the people who took the time to go to college to learn the science in the first place? Not to mention the fact that a lot of the money donated ends up going to CEO salaries in many different cases.

In my opinion, just giving money is lazy. Again, not that it’s not important, but there is so much more people could be doing. I think it also shows how disconnected people can be, as if they can just throw money at a problem to make it go away. That’s not possible with everything though. I volunteer at a kitchen, and it’s made me think about what would be done if there weren’t any volunteers. Volunteers have to at least be equally as important as money to them. You can’t get something like that started without money, but you can’t maintain it without the volunteers. People have to be willing to give up their time in order for them to keep operating in the way they do.

This doesn’t just pertain to charity work/donations though, even if that is where I most often hear the comparison. Just relate to your own life. Are the best memories you have in regards to how much you got paid, or do they revolve around an event/people in your life? I personally can’t think of anybody who has said that a moment in time where they were paid was the best moment of their life. It most often has to do with people/places they spent time with. While this all seems like common sense, then why does it seem like people are so quick to base everything off of monetary value? I know that I’ve had plenty of people ask me, “what did it cost you?” when I’m telling them about something I did that I enjoyed. I always answer the same, “does it matter?” Are there really people out there who haven’t had an experience that they value more than money? If so, I feel bad for them…

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Friends, How Many of Us Have Them?

Friendship is a funny thing to me these days. I think people have a misconception of what being someone’s friend really means. There are actually a lot of different kinds of friendships, in my opinion, and I think people get confused among what they are.

I think the advent of social media is what really started this blurring of lines. People will add someone on some type of platform, and think they know them based off of what they post. The problem is that nobody posts everything about themselves online, myself included. While I would say I do post about my personal stuff more than a lot of people do, that doesn’t mean everything I go through is online. You can only learn what people are willing to show you there, so basing a judgment off of what someone posts is going to mostly be inaccurate(there are exceptions, like hate speech, which those people are obvi garbage duh).

That’s not the only way that I think all these networks effect us. I think it’s made it easier for people to cut other people off. I know I’ve done it in the past. We have this online security blanket of a friend network that we can fall back on when we feel someone has wronged us. It’s one thing to delete someone from your online profiles, that to me doesn’t count, but I’ve seen plenty of people get online after a disagreement with someone they know in real life and completely blow up their friendship. Even if you get a lot of likes and people agreeing with you online, that doesn’t mean you’re in the right. I think a lot of people could save their friendships if they just went and talked to the person rather than try to “be right”.

Lastly, social media has brought up a whole new crop of fake friends. This is the only category where there’s a slight positive too, as it also makes it easier to identify the people who would be considered fake friends. I’ve had a lot of people tell me they’re my friend, but it’s obvious that they treat me differently than the rest of the people they call friends. I have a lot of these types of people that will say how happy they are for all of their friends’ success, except for mine. I have a lot of these types that say nice things to me, then other people inform me they’re talking shit behind my back. I have a lot of these type who say they’ll be there for me, then weren’t when I needed them to be. Lately, I’ve found myself not even having energy to acknowledge these people. Really it’s helped me identify who my true friends are, and who to just play ear/lip service to. I’ve always been taught to treat people how you want to be treated, and that shouldn’t include treating someone or a particular group of people differently than you would your other friends.

If you think this any of these statements are about you, they are. That says more about how you view the way you’ve treated me than anything else. So save the emo messages and reaching out, I don’t need it. I have the people I need around me, and I’m sure there will be more, but I don’t have any more time for people who want to play childish high school games.

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Relax. No, Not Like the Song

People often ask what’s the best advice I can give them to help them improve at the gym. As “crazy” as it sounds the best advice is normally for them to relax. I understand that it sounds crazy given the context, how the hell are you supposed to be calm when someone is trying to punch/choke/stretch/knee/elbow you? Well, it’s really a lot of different factors that come in to play.

The first thing you need to have is confidence. Not confidence as in, “I can beat this guy”, but more like being confident in your own skill. You have to feel that no matter what happens, you have enough skill to combat whatever is coming back at you. If somebody punches me straight in the face, I know I can still come back at them. Really you should expect, the accept that that’s probably going to happen. I don’t know where people got this idea that you’re not supposed to get hit in a fight. A LOT of people flinch even from just being grazed, forget about getting hit full force. Same thing with grappling, even if I end up in a bad situation I have confidence in my skill to at least not be submitted. That confidence helps me remain calm regardless of the situation.

I think another big thing is to understand that nobody is trying to get hurt in practice. People worry too much about “winning” in practice, but nobody does that. I’ve even wrote another blog about this lol. The biggest take away is that understanding it’s not competitive will help take a lot of the edge off. Don’t get me wrong, everybody wants to do well in practice, but that doesn’t mean going all out to make sure you feel good about yourself at the end of the day. Everybody needs to look after everybody in practice, otherwise nobody will be training because they’ll all be injured! That’s always my biggest concern against somebody who’s being too competitive in practice, getting hurt, but I also understand that won’t happen if everybody can stay composed and relaxed.

In my opinion, the biggest thing is learning how to control yourself, both physically and mentally. The thing that people don’t realize is how those two are connected. A lot of people end up picking up the intensity without realizing they’re doing that. It’s one of the side effects of letting the adrenaline take over. Too many people fall in to that trap, in general. The best thing about this is that it’s also bled over in to my personal life. It’s helped me understand how I’m truly in control of how I feel about everything. I’m not one of those people that will blame someone else for my mood/attitude at this point. Even if someone does something bad to me, I’m not going to let that ruin my day. It can be hard, for sure, but I’ll always choose to focus on the positives over the negatives. Lashing out against people doesn’t make you strong, letting shit roll off your back and keeping it moving does. The more you don’t let other people effect your mood, the more power you realize you have within yourself, the easier it is to control yourself during sparring/fighting.

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Hey, Can I Ask You A Question?

I get a lot of the same questions from people, and figured I would answer them in a blog. This is that blog.

What’s your diet like?

Let me preface this by saying that I’m not going to get detailed here. I’ve give a basic understanding of what my diet is like, but I won’t be going in to specifics. If you don’t live the same lifestyle as me, then you don’t need to follow the same diet that I do. Monday through Saturday I don’t eat anything with artificial ingredients in it. If something occurs in nature, then I can consume it. That includes some preservatives like sea salt and citric acid. I allow myself one cheat day where I eat whatever I want, so I can make up for any calorie deficit and to keep my body adjusting. When done properly, this can trigger your body to pump out more hormones, which can help your recovery/performance.

What does it take to become a professional MMA fighter?

Time and dedication are the two things that are not only needed the most, but also what people seem to be lacking the most. When you’re an amateur fighter, you’re supposed to be figuring out what kind of fighter you are, as in what will work for you and what won’t. There’s a very slim chance that you’ll figure that out in just a few fights, or years even. So in my opinion, patience is the greatest virtue you can have as a fighter.

I’ve noticed your mindset change recently, what happened to make you more driven?

This is the kind of thing that you can never explain to anybody. It came from within myself. I looked myself in the mirror and asked if I was living my life the way I wanted to. I asked myself if I was actually being the person I wanted to be, and be remembered as, and not just trying to portray myself as something I’m not. I realized that most peoples’ opinions are completely irrelevant to myself, what I’ve been through, and what I’m trying to achieve in life. That what other people think has nothing to do with where I end up, but what I actually accomplish is what matters. Once that happened, I started living my life the way I should in order to do the things I want and things started to line up for me the way I wanted them to. I think it’s almost impossible not to stay positive and ride the wave of momentum once you see that actually taking place.

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